The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is expected to release a new study on how crashes are accounted for in the next week or two. The report has been expected for some time now and relates to how the agency analyzes fault for truck accidents that are kept in the database.
The Compliance, Safety Accountability or CSA, relies upon highway inspections and traffic citation information to determine which motor carriers may need assistance with compliance.
There seems to be a controversy over whether non-fault accidents should be included in the database and used to make enforcement decisions. Trucking companies have fought hard to exclude accidents where fault has not been determined from the analysis.
Alternatively, safety advocates believe that the best determination of the potential for future truck crashes is the data from the past.
Whether or not the CSA gets restructured will depend a lot upon the finding of the study. The study is expected to address at least three core areas.
1. How reliable are official crash reports?
2. Should there be changes made in the management of the CSA system?
3. What is the best method for predicting future safety?
It is doubtful that the study will determine that it is feasible to determine fault in every accident that is used for the safety measurement system. There are many accidents that fault is disputed and many more that for one reason or another, the determination is never made it.
Trying to place a burden upon the agency to determine fault in every accident does not seem to be a wise use of agency assets.